New centre a huge boost for training – Otago Polytechnic

““The new complex will provide an outstanding learning environment, offering modern learning facilities including common learning spaces, to meet industry and more sophisticated learner demands.””

The realisation of Otago Polytechnic’s $31.7 million Trades Training Centre in Dunedin is a dream come-true for the institute’s management and staff.
Chief executive Dr. Megan Gibbons says the project was submitted by Otago Polytechnic early last year in response to the Government’s call to develop “shovel-ready” projects, aimed at stimulating and supporting economic activity in the city and region.
“It was pretty exciting. We didn’t actually think we had a lot of show to be honest; everyone was looking for a shovel ready project and it really was shovel ready. The plans were ready to go,” Megan says.
Construction on the three-story centre was started by Naylor Love late January, with completion expected in October 2022.
Megan says that the economic impact of the project is significant, employing around 200 tradespeople as well as construction managers and consultants.
“It is also timely and significant to both the local and national construction industry, as major contractors recover from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The project is being resourced largely by local tradespersons and companies, with construction materials sourced by a national supplier and specialist equipment for the internal fit-out sourced both locally and nationally.
The polytechnic’s trade training options cover construction and carpentry, electrical and mechanical engineering, quantity surveying, automotive and heavy transport. Courses are currently run from a variety of sites which are not ideally fit for purpose. However the new centre will be of international standard, Megan says.
“The new complex will provide an outstanding learning environment, offering modern learning facilities including common learning spaces, to meet industry and more sophisticated learner demands.”
“It will also allow us to expand to bring in plumbing, gas-fitting and drain-laying and also some of the allied trades which will be important for the Dunedin hospital build.”
“We see our role at Otago Polytechnic as two-fold in the coming years: as we contribute to vocational education in New Zealand, we also acknowledge we have a part to play in the economic recovery.
“At a time when young people and mature learners alike, are looking for new career pathways with strong job opportunities, the Trades Training Centre will supply qualified tradespeople for industry that we know local employers, and the country as a whole, will need,” says Megan.
And she says the demand for trade qualifications is already growing.
There are close to 900 students involved in trade or trade related training at Otago Polytchenic this year , with 500 directly training in construction trades.
This year the polytechnic has four streams and a wait-list of 30 pre-trade construction learners moving into apprenticeships, an increase from two streams two years ago.
Megan notes that many trades apprentices being trained now will potentially be involved in the Dunedin Hospital rebuild during its peak construction period of 2024 to 2027, as well as in residential construction.
© Waterford Press Ltd 2021

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